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A Surprising Absence of Assholery

Had I conducted a survey of Americans and asked them "Should I take my ten-year old to spend eleven hours on a Hollywood set with two rappers filming a music video?" I'm willing to bet 60% or 70% of people would have answered "No." There would have been dire warnings about everything from drugs to sex to runaway ego.

No doubt there's quite a bit of drugs, sex and runaway ego in the music business and in Hollywood. And I'm not proposing that a single experience should be taken as representative. But this one experience was a wholly positive one for me and for Jake.

During the course of eleven hours Jake was exposed to no drugs, no sex, and no temperament. In fact, the only questionable material came from the South Park episodes I'd allowed him to download. And the only F-bombs he heard were from me. (Sorry, it's useful punctuation when telling some stories.)

What the kid saw were dozens of professionals working smoothly, overcoming numerous obstacles, rising above frustration and remaining unfailingly courteous and considerate. There was a great deal of laughter. No raised voices.

Master P, far from being the preening egomaniac that I suppose people expect a rapper to be, was thoroughly down-to-earth, soft-spoken and approachable, and could just as easily have been an insurance executive or US Airways vice president. (Except that the insurance industry and the airlines do hire extensively from the Satanist community.)

Romeo, an eighteen-year old who was brought up in Hollywood and in the music industry, could not have been a nicer kid. Seeing Jake taking photos he volunteered to take one with him. He checked back a couple of times to make sure Jake was getting some good shots of all the action.

The electricians, the grips, the food service people, the make-up people, the director of photography (Andrew Dryer,) all working a hard eleven-hour day in a very un-California chill, were so well-behaved that I'm forced to deploy a word as noxious as "sweet." And the lesson imparted to my kid was not "Turn away from the depravity of the whore of Babylon," but rather, "See, this is how professionals behave, and how you should behave."

Yes, it's embarrassing but true: I was using directors, cinematographers, actors and rap stars as exemplars, and implicitly contrasting them with a certain temperamental, foul-mouthed kid's book writer Jake knows extremely well. Actually two temperamental, foul-mouthed kid's book authors.

The sole exception? A teacher, who went ranting around the set for half an hour bitching that we should have a teacher on the set, (but not her, she was on her lunch break,) and giving me the evil eye for taking my kid out of school for the day.

In fact, the shoot was a recreation of a Civil Rights era march. So the kid learned some history, observed movie-making, absorbed some technique, heard some music, met some celebs, took some pictures, and came away with a first-hand appreciation of the work that goes into filming. Tell me he would have learned anything like as much in a typical day in 5th grade.

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“A Surprising Absence of Assholery”

  1. Blogger Randy Rogers Says:

    Now this part doesn't surprise me in the least. Glad you both had a great time.

  2. Blogger Pastor_Jeff Says:

    I think I would have been in that 60-70%, based solely on the image most rap artists have chosen for themselves. If I'd thought more about it, I might have realized that there have to be professionals or the industry can't survive. I suppose it's a business like anything else. I'm not opposed to rap per se, just the celebration of misogynist thuggery.

    I'm glad you had such a surprisingly positive (and way cool) experience.

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